Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said Monday that he believes the leak of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book manuscript is a “coordinated leak” to change the narrative in the Senate impeachment trial.
“My hypothesis is that this is part of a coordinated leak to change the narrative,” Meadows told reporters at a press conference.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported — according to “multiple sources” — that the draft of Bolton’s book manuscript alleged President Trump had told Bolton he preferred to hold security aid from Ukraine until they handed over documents and information related to political investigations.
After the article published, Democrats called for Bolton to testify in the Senate trial, over objections of Republicans who argued that if his testimony was so important, the House would have waited to obtain it during their impeachment inquiry.
The article came after House impeachment managers wrapped up three days of arguments that saw meager television ratings, growing unity among Senate Republicans, and disgust with arguments by lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-CA).
Bolton’s staff and book publishers have denied they leaked the manuscript to anyone at the Times, but said they submitted the manuscript on December 30 to the National Security Council for a standard review for any classified information that should be removed, and that that process was “corrupted.”
A source close to the White House told Breitbart News on Sunday that Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a senior ethics lawyer at the NSC and the twin brother of one of the witnesses who testified against Trump during the House impeachment inquiry, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, is in charge of reviewing materials for publish at the NSC.
Meadows also pushed back against the allegation that Trump had told Bolton in August after returning from Bedminster, New Jersey, that he wanted to withhold aid for Ukraine until investigations were conducted. He said Bolton would have met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after that alleged conversation, but never mentioned anything to him.
Meadows said, referring to then-NSC official Tim Morrison:
On August the 27th of this year, Ambassador Bolton met with President Zelensky. Had he been instructed by the president to hold up aid and tie it, he would have communicated that to President Zelensky. He did not, so we know that for a fact. How do we know that? Because Mr. Morrison was there and has testified to that,” Meadows said, referring to then-NSC official Tim Morrison.
“So whether a conversation happened or not, there was certainly not an action that came from that,” he added.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-SC) also said Monday morning on Fox & Friends that a leak of this type is “kind of a typical move from the Democrats.” He said:
What we do know is when he, John Bolton, met with President Zelensky on August 27, linking up dollars — security assistance dollars to any type of investigation never came up. We had all kinds of witnesses testify to that meeting that took place, so we do know that fact, so this coming out at this late hour is kind of typical move from the Democrats.
Meadows laid out in a tweet various senior level meetings between the U.S. and Ukraine where the linking of aid to political investigations never came up, including after the alleged Trump-Bolton conversation:
7/25: Trump/Zelensky phone call
7/26: Volker & Taylor meet Zelensky
8/27: Bolton meets Zelensky
9/1: VP Pence meets Zelensky
9/5: Sens. Johnson, Murphy meet Zelensky
In all 5 meetings: ZERO discussion or evidence of linking aid and political investigations#GiveMeABreak
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 27, 2020